Cleaning scum from shower floor tiles

brunosonioMarch 9, 2011

Five years after the renovation, I've noticed that there is a greasy soap film that's built up on the master bath shower tile floor surface. I can scratch it away with my fingernail, it's a white waxy substance, and after many google searches it's probably the fatty acid buildup from bar soap and shampoo/conditioners. The 2x2 tiles are glazed porcelain with a 1/4" dark grout.

I'm about to reseal the grout, and have cleaned it with oxyclean and citric acid based cleaners as recommended to kill the bacteria and mildew spots.

I've been able to scrape off most of the film by softening it with a citric acid cleaner and using a paint scraper, but what a pain. Is there a better and easier way to do this without harming the grout or tile?

And we're not using the cheap bar soaps anymore.

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You want to bring in the big guns for a cleaning like this - a stronger acid-based cleaner than the citric acid.

StoneTech Restore is what I have used. It's amazing. I learned about it on the John Bridge Tile Forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: StoneTech Restore

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 3:04PM
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Thanks...I think my tile guy ended up putting the Miracle SuperSeal all over the glazed porcelain tile and grout on the floor of the shower and not wiping it up completely. There was a pale yellow glaze over the metal drain cover, which I could scrape off with my fingernail.

The tile guy at Home Depot said he never should have put SuperSeal over glazed porcelain, as that product is only for unglazed tiles. I think because it's a base of 2x2" tiles, he took the quick route and poured the product in to apply it, but didn't adequately wipe it up afterwards.

That combined with the buildup of fatty soap scum was just too much.

The Home Depot guy also suggested a strong acid cleaner from Miracle Sealants to dissolve the soap and the old sealer. Then he suggested resealing with TileLab's no-VOC grout sealer that you apply only to the grout and not to the tile. I'm going to call both companies tomorrow and see which one will last longer.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 8:54PM
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Thanks graywings...went back to HD and got the Miracle Sealants acid cleaner. I called them (it was the brand of grout sealant used) and they recommended the same thing.

Of course, since it's HCL, I had to wear gloves and an VOC breather, but it cut right thru all of the built up scum. What's hard is how that soap scum can build up in the texture of the glazed porcelain.

I had to follow it up with their mild natural stone cleaner to neutralize the acid. Now I'll let it dry overnight then reseal everything. It looks brand new and the grout looks clean and reconditioned. Amazing.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 6:08PM
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